Senator Chuck Grassley. (file photo)

As thousands of Central American migrants walk through Mexico, heading to the southern U.S. border, Senator Chuck Grassley says it’s time for a new agreement with Mexico about asylum seekers.

It would require migrants to apply for refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in. The U.S. has such an agreement with Canada.

Grassley on Wednesday said he’s surprised by reports of how many Central Americans are making the walk north.

“I don’t know where people in other countries get the attitude that they can just willy-nilly come to our country, violating our laws, when you wouldn’t think of going to any other country without a passport and a visa,” Grassley said during a question-and-answer session with Iowa reporters. “You wouldn’t take a chance.”

Grassley expects congress to provide more money for border security in a federal budget agreement that must be approved by December 7. Grassley said more money to track people who enter the country through airports should be part of that.

“Half the people that are undocumented in this country came here legally and overstayed their visas,” Grassley said. “We’ve got to know when you come to this country and when you’re supposed to leave the country.”

Grassley’s Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a nominee for a federal judgeship yesterday in Washington, D.C., but Grassley wasn’t there. He was in Iowa, campaigning with Iowa Republican candidates, including Governor Kim Reynolds.